[EDITORIALS]China must show fairnessChina has made absurd demands on Korea over the handling of five North Korean defectors who entered the Korean Consulate in Beijing on May 23, asking for asylum. The Chinese government reportedly asked the Korean mission to hand over the defectors without condition. China is also reported to have asked Korea not to accept their asylum applications. The Korean government is not in the position to accept the Chinese demands.
First of all, we should note that the Chinese government is applying different rules to Korea than it applied to other countries in dealing with North Korean defectors who made their way into diplomatic missions in Beijing, asking for asylum. The established norm of the civilized world is that the same rule is applied to similar cases. If China has given permission to North Korean defectors who applied for asylum through third country missions, but has denied those applying through the Korean Consulate, discrimination may be at play.
Moreover, the Chinese demand that South Korea not accept the asylum applications of North Korean defectors is tantamount to infringement on Korea's sovereignty. Although the Chinese government made the request in the form of a bona fide bid for cooperation, the move, in practice, will be viewed as intervention and infringement on the independence of Korea. If we made a similar demand, for example, on Chinese human rights, to the Chinese side would the Chinese government accept such a request?
We understand the trouble the Chinese are forced to endure due to North Korean defectors. But as China's international status is being upgraded to play a leading role abreast with the United States, Beijing is obliged to honor international law and practices. Moreover, 10 years after the opening of diplomatic relations, China and South Korea enjoy reciprocal and friendly relations more than at any other time.
We hope China will not damage such desirable relations with discriminative actions against Korea. We call upon China to settle the defector issue in accordance with the formula that established by many precedents.